Wednesday, March 30, 2005

It Doesn't Matter If Comics Are Good Or Not If You Will Continue To Buy Ones You Hate.

I've been moderating message boards since 2002. It's almost been four years. So I have a high tolerance for a lot of comic fandom's quirks, not in the least because I have a lot of them myself. That said, one thing I've never been able to understand is the mentality that buying a comic no matter the quality doesn't invalidate any opinion of it.

Because, let's face it, DC doesn't care that so many people hated Identity Crisis, because in the end, it sold like hotcakes. It doesn't matter how vociferously you bitched if you bought the whole thing, because to quote the political pundits that annoy me more than things Larry Young said on message boards 3 years ago ever could, you gave DC a mandate. A mandate to churn out more of the same "rape-o" comics with lame plot twists and gratuitous shock tactics.

The same goes for X-Men fans, perhaps the biggest completists of all. The one thing that made me realize I could not completist outrage is an argument I had with an X-Zombie on CBR's X-Men Board. I tried to explain to the guy that if you're buying all these comics you hate so much, you are endorsing them, and nothing you say on a message board will change that. You're voting with your dollars. Marvel and DC (and I imagine any publisher, but I don't run in to too many Image, Dark Horse, or Oni completists) could care less if you hated the book if they have your money. When I realized that I was quickly running in to "Do I have to draw you a picture?" territory, I left the argument. And I haven't entered in to one with a completist that's angry that they hated the latest issue of Chuck Austen's X-Men or Devin Grayson's Nightwing as much as the last seven since.

That's not because they're stupid, as much as I implied otherwise in the last paragraph. It's because I can not begin to fathom people who buy things they don't enjoy. Or watch TV shows or movie series they hate. I find fixating on anything that makes you spew that much vitriol is a waste of energy. Unless you can make that spewing funny. Which is why I liked Joe Rice and Alex's posts here, even if I'll never understand why they focus on how much they hate Geoff Johns' body of work so much. It's not that they don't have their reasons or that pointing out why you hate a piece of writing can't be constructive criticism. It's just anathema to me to dwell on things that do not bring you enjoyment of some kind.

But seriously, completists; either stop buying those comics you hate or shut the fuck up. Because you can only burn your hand on the stove so many times before people stop caring when you say it hurts.*

(*If you're buying comics I like and hate them, keep doing it. That way, you can spite me. Hate Brubaker's Captain America or Baker's Plastic Man? Buy three copies! That will show me!)


Blogger Christopher Burton said...

So I'm not the only one reading Baker's Plastic Man! What a great comic. A lot of people are really missing out. Too bad we can't get all of those people reading Infinite Countdown or whatever the hell it's called to read a little PM.

3/30/2005 09:39:00 PM  
Blogger Mercurie said...

I never have understood why some fans buy comics they consider poor in quality and they really dislike. I mean, I avoided Identity Crisis like the plague myself...

3/30/2005 09:51:00 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

That's why I didn't buy DC Countdown - I got fooled by Identity Crisis, and I'm going all Who on the rest of the "event." I can sort of understand completists - I was an X-Men completist once upon a time, and I kept at it long after I should have because I desperately wanted it to get better. That's what keeps people buying things they hate - hope. That doesn't excuse it, but that's why they do. Of course, I'm a bit older and wiser now - but not that much, since I bought Ultimate Secret!

3/30/2005 09:55:00 PM  
Blogger Brad Curran said...

"Of course, I'm a bit older and wiser now - but not that much, since I bought Ultimate Secret!"

At least you got pretty art. And if you don't by the next three and complain that they suck just like the first one, I have no quarrel with you.

And, to again contradict myself, I sort of get completists. If I had a lot of money, I could see myself trying to get a full run of Amazing Spider-Man or something. I just can't fathom expecting that you can demand quality from something you will buy whether you like it or not. I mean, if all you want is stacks of paper in a box, you don't really have to read all of them if they bring you such displeasure. Just file them away in the long box until the series gets good again or something. That's one of the advantages of corporate comics. Wait around long enough, and the personel will change, at least.

3/30/2005 10:16:00 PM  
Blogger Brad Curran said...

"So I'm not the only one reading Baker's Plastic Man! What a great comic. A lot of people are really missing out. Too bad we can't get all of those people reading Infinite Countdown or whatever the hell it's called to read a little PM."

There are a few of us. I have to admit, I haven't read it in a few months. Going to have to go back issue bin diving to catch up.

3/30/2005 10:20:00 PM  
Anonymous GreyGlobe said...

I have to agree exactly with what Brad is saying. Don't buy what you don't like. If you absolutely MUST have the entire run of a comic, then pick them up in the sale bins at a local show or convention. You'll feel a lot less guilty for buying them, then.

Also, Brubaker's Captain America is gold I tell you!

3/30/2005 10:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I absolutely agree, don't buy what you don't like. But what if you get suckered?
What if being an optimist you picked up a copy of DC Countdown, 'cause it only a buck and you thought it had a tie-in to Crisis On Infinite Earths, which is how it's being hyped as, but were in a rush and didn't flip through it in the store before buying it.
What if you then read it and it was so bad you felt as though you'd been given an STD? Like this thing was AIDS on paper?
What then?
Shouldn't you have the right to bitch about it?
(The store owner refused to give me a refund.)

3/31/2005 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger Jer said...

Anonymous -

The store owner REALLY refused to give you back your $1 for the book? I'd give you a dollar for it, if only to have a copy to give to a friend who was chased out of comics years ago by the Big Two's penchant for killing or degrading characters he loved as a kid. It would make a great gag gift - I may have to just pick up another one for him anyway...

3/31/2005 02:31:00 PM  
Blogger Loren said...

I think the way to teach DC a lesson isn't to ignore Countdown, but rather to buy multiple copies. At $1, they're losing money on the book, so the more you buy, the more DC loses.

And then, refuse to buy any of the spinoff mini-series. *That* is where DC wants you to spend your money. By buying the $1 book and ignoring the spinoffs, you can tell DC "I gave Countdown a chance, but you let me down big-time."

3/31/2005 08:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Brad Curran said...

"Shouldn't you have the right to bitch about it?"

You have every right to bitch about it. My problem is when people buy comics they know they will hate just to have a full run and still think their opinion matters. I can't take them seriously. But by all means, bitch about a shitty one shot or first issue. Everyone's bought one of those. Kind of hard to avoid.

"(The store owner refused to give me a refund.)"

Heh. I'm kind of surprised they don't have a "No Refunds" sign on full display, like the shops down here. The concept of being able to entertain the idea of returning a comic to a shop is kind of alien to me.

3/31/2005 09:39:00 PM  
Anonymous boolean said...

Irrelevant nit-pick time:

"I've been moderating message boards since 2002. It's almost been four years."

If you became a mod 01/01/02, then you've been a mod for three years and three months, or 3.25 years.

Few people would agree that 3.25 is "almost" 4.

4/01/2005 07:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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4/03/2005 01:22:00 AM  

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